ADHD is much more common than you think. Life with an ADHD child can be quite challenging and overwhelming at times. But with knowledge, patience, and proper management, you can deal with your child having ADHD.
1. End your confusions
For any person, parenting a child with ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) can be quite confusing. An ADHD child’s disorientation can be very perplexing for the parents they face the large hiatus between what the child is capable of doing and what the child may bot be able to do. This is both confusing and upsetting for most of the parents. Therefore, such parents must read and research more about this learning disorder after their child is diagnosed. Ending this confusion is crucial in dealing with your child’s ADHD. Briefly, most of the children with ADHD are quite smart, know a great deal, and have a good reasoning capacity. But the problem comes when they have to read, write, or organize their studies.
They may appear lazy, but you have to understand that these kids try a lot, in fact, they may be working harder than others, it’s the disorder that is making that hyperactive, impulsive, and disorganized. So, you must seek out all your confusion related to the development and learning capacities of your child. Sit with the therapist and discuss your queries. Focus more upon what challenges your child may be facing so that you and the therapist can work upon helping the child deal with her/his ADHD symptoms.
2. Stop accusing and start understanding
Many parents may be overwhelmed by their child’s hyperactive actions and impulsive behavior. They may feel tormented by their disorganization. But scolding or accusing the child of being disorganized or impatient is not the solution. Remember, an ADHD child is extremely sensitive. Therefore, shower your love over the child. Make sure that your child knows that you love him and care for him.
Start making small changes in your daily routine so that you can help the child get more organized. You can help the child keep her/his room clean by supervising the child every day. For a kid with ADHD, adhering to instructions can be difficult, so you have to be more patient and repeat the instructions calmly and lovingly so that your child can slowly learn them and act in an organized manner. Believe in your child and believe in yourself. Focus on particularly changes at a time so that you don’t have to deal with too many things at a particular moment.
3. Create a structure
A structure is the greatest need for you and your ADHD kid. Create a structure and stick to it. Given your frayed mental state and your child’s difficulty with adhering to a structure, having a breakthrough in this area is an essential first step. You can start with simple things like rising and sleeping times, meal times, bath time, and bedtime rituals. Extend this to toys and playthings, ensuring that things are put back where they belong after they have been used.
ADHD kids have a big problem estimating the quantity of time required for tasks, so having countdown timers and alarm clocks at multiple locations to assist them with sticking to task deadlines can be very useful to them. As you and your kid both work towards creating and sticking to structure with activities of daily living, you will experience a level of predictability that can be very reassuring. This reassurance will help you take the next steps towards a joyous and meaningful life with your ADHD kid.
4. Set boundaries
Along with creating a time and space structure, it is important to communicate the seriousness of personal boundaries, limits, and consequences to your ADHD kid. This is something that is as good as alien to them, since they relate to the world from their perspective, and expect all others to be okay with their inquisitive and intrusive behavior. While this may seem a difficult goal to reach, it becomes easy once you understand that the kid really wants to be recognized for respecting boundaries.
Rules and consequences of breaking the rules need to be clearly spelled out and agreed to in advance. A simple way to get the child to comply with rules is to reward positive behavior. Keep in mind that at heart the child truly wants to play by your rules if only he knew how. Rewards subconsciously reinforce good behavior and they will try to repeat it till it becomes a habit.
5. Encourage social contact
A common mistake that ADHD parents make is to withdraw from community interactions in order to avoid the embarrassment that typically accompanies an ADHD kid during social occasions. Some parents discourage the ADHD kid from making friends, as they fear the consequences. However, studies show that the best source for an ADHD kid to learn how to adjust his social skills to the levels acceptable in society is from his peers. You will be amazed at how cleverly your child is able to leverage on his intelligence and his handicap to develop coping skills and actually find ways to control his ADHD tendencies and adjust with his peers.
6. Praise and affirm
The greatest challenge that your ADHD kid has to face is the lack of understanding and ostracism from those he loves the most. You can play a vital role in this area by providing positive strokes in the form of praise and rewards when he accomplishes tasks or reaches goals. ADHD kids are often extremely intelligent and creative. Encourage them to express their creativity and their intelligence by letting them take on art and music and pursue science and technology projects. Due to their unique way of processing information and solving problems, they can often come up with insights and expressions that are not commonly available to other people.
7. Basic lifestyle changes
As a parent, you must intervene in your child’s lifestyle and make certain changes that will help to reduce his hyperactivity. Apart from the medications prescribed by your psychiatrist, the right choice of food can help you to deal with your child’s ADHD. A child with ADHD must avoid sugar, fried food, carbonated drinks, and junk foods as they lead to an increase in a child’s hyperactivity.
Also, the use of dairy products should be minimized. Processed foods like juices and white bread should also be avoided. Instead, the child must be given fresh, organic foods, the right amount of proteins, foods with vitamins, roughage, and raw vegetables. Apart from this, a child with ADHD must be given plenty of time to play and exercise. This will help your child burn the energy that makes him hyperactive. This will also allow your child to have uninterrupted sleep that will help the child to be more attentive the next day.
8. Give your child the freedom to choose
Children with ADHD have a hard time learning through traditional ways of teaching. They have problems in making notes, have poor handwriting, and face difficulties in completing assignments. In such cases, you must find creative ways of helping your child to stay focused on studies. You can talk to the school counselor and principal who can allow your child to use verbal methods to discuss his assignments, or make presentations if the child is a little older.
Give your child a pencil with a rubber grip so that his handwriting improves. Give five minutes break to the child after he has studied for an hour. Help the child in developing organizational skills and have a consistent format for all assignment sheets. Assist the child to keep things in place. Give your child the freedom to decide what time he will study and what time he will play. Also, allow your child to choose activities that keep him more attentive like music, dance, or painting.
9. Take your child to a therapist
Your child’s therapist will help your child to develop behavior that will help him to be more organized and patient. At the same time, you can also use the behavioral approach of positive and negative reinforcement to help your child change unacceptable behavior. For instance, if your child sits calmly at the dinner tables and does not fidget for a whole week, you can treat him with his favorite dessert. Similarly, if the child doesn’t display impulsive behavior, then you can appreciate him to help him continue such behavior. For instance, if your child waits and asks for his turn on the swing, then you can appreciate him by saying, ‘I like that you waited for your turn.’ This positive reinforcement can help your child to develop acceptable, non-impulsive behavior.
Similarly, when the child displays impulsive behavior or throws tantrums, then you must comfort your child and state him calmly that his behavior was wrong. If the child is repeatedly unable to keep his things in place, then you can take away his favorite toy and ask him to clean and organize things if he wants back the toy. By giving a consequence to his actions, you can help him control his hyperactive and impulsive behavior. This can be applied in school settings and studies to help the child become more attentive. In these ways, you can deal with a child with ADHD.
10. Look after yourself
The presence of an ADHD kid in the household can be very demanding physically and emotionally. The problem is that the ADHD kid does not realize it and always expects his environment to match his energy levels and rapidly switching the focus of attention. The only way you can match them is by taking really good care of yourself. Make sure you are getting adequate rest and sleep and the right type of nutrition with a good mix of fruits and vegetables. Drink water on a regular basis to stay sufficiently hydrated. Finding a support system that understands your situation can be very helpful. Look up your local yellow pages for support groups of parents with ADHD kids and connect with them.
Best Treatments for Kids Suffering from ADHD
Kids suffering from ADHD end up living in frustration. However, there are many ways in which ADHD people can learn to lead their lives like a normal person. Here are some possible treatment options for a child with ADHD.
Medicines can help a child with ADHD by reducing symptoms such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity. However, these medicines should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor as they are known to have various side effects. Even the doctor would first try a combination of medicines before finally deciding which ones give the best results without any or minimal side effects. Also, medicines cannot cure ADHD completely. It may improve your ability to concentrate and control the hyperactive impulses; however, you may still struggle with emotional and social problems and disorganization. Moreover, the effect of medicines is short-lived as once you stop taking medication, your symptoms will reappear.
Since medicines are not 100% successful in curing ADHD, you need to combine them with some other form of therapy, which is both more effective and long-lasting. Coaching by an ADHD specialist or therapist will help you learn skills that are required to carry out day to day activities. Proper coaching can help an ADHD sufferer develop new skills such as social and communication skills and improve his time management. It begins by enabling the person to get rid of the shame and improve his self-confidence. It can also help the person become better at handling his emotions, reduce stress, and control hyperactive and inattentive behavior. Coaching can also help in educating the person about ADHD, understanding it better, appreciating the strengths and unique gifts that come along with this condition, and learning to use these qualities to achieve success and a better quality of life.
3. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be very effective in dealing with ADHD. It is a psychotherapeutic approach that combines behavioral and cognitive therapies. Although even CBT cannot replace medication, it has been proven to be more effective than medicines and other therapies for curing ADHD. It focuses on emotions and incidents in the past to determine the cause of the current problems and then developing approaches to cure the problems. It involves cognitive restructuring to improve a person’s ability to think more adaptively in situations of distress, training to reduce distractibility, and learning to organize and plan things better. CBT aims to teach self-control through one-on-one interactions with the therapist using techniques such as problem-solving, role-playing, etc. A combination of medication along with CBT can be successful in dealing with ADHD.
Sharing your condition with family members and close friends will also help you deal with ADHD better. If the people close to you know about your condition they will be there by your side to help you deal with it. Encourage them to educate themselves about ADHD so that they are in a better position to help you deal with your condition. There are also many support groups for ADHD people. You can explore and find one in your own community or you could also join an ADHD support group on the Internet.
Instead of feeling ashamed about your condition, join a support group where you will be able to meet people with the same condition as yours, and also share your experiences with them. Joining a support group will also give you a chance to hear about other people’s struggles with ADHD and the methods they are adapting to deal with it.
5. Exercise and diet
Along with medication and therapies, there are also certain changes that you need to make in your lifestyle if you want to help your child deal with ADHD. Remember that, a healthy diet rich in dopamine building protein and essential fatty acids is very important for people with ADHD. However, make sure that you also include the right amount of carbohydrates and other essential nutrients in your diet. Make sure that you are drinking adequate water. Exercising is also as important as eating a correct diet as it helps in moving blood and oxygen to the brain faster. You could also try meditation as it will help relax your mind and give you better control over your moods and emotions.